D200 +200-400afs.vr a few photos.......

Started Aug 20, 2007 | Discussions thread
Deegee Regular Member • Posts: 322
Re: DeeGee...Focus tracking (predictive)

Thanks for your comments – I agree about Picasa but it is so easy! I’ll get around to setting up a proper site soon I promise.

Thanks also for your interest in my focusing question. I have had so many different answers to this question, so I hope no one will be offended if I post it as a separate thread sometime.

Firstly, I should make it clear that I have only been taking photography seriously for the past 18 months or so. During this time I have had an image selected for the Royal Photographic Society’s 150th print exhibition, three images for the Edinburgh Photographic Society’s 145th exhibition, won the Surrey Photographic Society’s Annual Print Competition, had eleven images selected for the Trienenberg International Exhibition, been selected for the PAGB exhibition and won my camera club’s print league competition. From this you will see that I am a talented photographer and that there is little I do not know about photography. My fellow club members will confirm this – well they should do, I have told them often enough. Obviously I personally have no need to ask questions about simple focusing techniques on a photography forum – indeed, were my fellow club members to find out I would be severely ridiculed. I do of course know the answer – if you click that little button at the top enough times, eventually you will get one shot that is in focus. However, I have a friend on whose behalf I ask this question...............(!)

What “my friend” wants to know is how do you get this predictive focus tracking thingy to work properly? Imagine this scenario of shooting a tennis player from some distance using say a 70-200 mm f2.8 VR lens (sometimes with a 1.7 TC attached). The objective is to catch the shot as the player stretches up high to serve the ball, ensuring that the eyes are in sharp focus. Even if the ISO is cranked up, it is generally necessary to shoot with quite a large aperture (which I want to anyway in order to blur the background), so DOF is quite small.

Before serving, players generally bend their torso at 90 degrees and bounce the ball a few times (for some reason only they can know!) They then suddenly straighten up, chuck the ball in the air, then leap up and thwack it. The player is obviously only in the air momentarily and at all times is moving either up or down and his head is moving from looking up to looking forwards. Now is the time I want my shot.

If I am shooting in portrait format using my D200 I normally have the active focus spot at the top of the screen, focus on the players eyes as he bends over, then reframe as he stretches up so that his eyes are still in line with the active focus spot. This doesn’t always work since with a long lens you cannot always be this precise (well I can of course but my friend can’t!)

What is possibly happening is that the camera looses focus on the eyes as the player jumps and I try to reframe. I cannot pre-focus easily since I do not know exactly where his face will be. There is also a complication about the camera setting which delays focus changing for a few milliseconds, which is designed to stop focus changing when panning and a tree gets in the way momentarily etc. Some people tell me to switch this off, others say to leave it on.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the best technique? If anyone can provide a definitive and compelling reason in writing why the only way to resolve the dilemma is for me to buy a D3X, this would be appreciated, but it has to be good enough to convince my wife! (If I die, don’t let my wife sell my current camera for what I told her I paid for it.)

If anyone wants to see my tennis (Wimbledon) shots please visit http://www.duncangrove.com .

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Q:- What's the difference between artists and photographers?
A:- Two artists can have a conversation without discussing their paintbrushes!

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